More Evidence About the Positive Impact of CTE

By: Hans Meeder

You may not know the Fordham Foundation as a household name, but as a Washington-based education think tank, the Fordham Foundation has had tremendous impact in influencing the standards and accountability movement over the years.

Now, Fordham is paying attention to the importance of career readiness and career technical education as an important avenue for student achievement and successful transitions to adulthood.

Their newest report is entitled, Career and Technical Education in High School: Does It Improve Student Outcomes? You can find the report here: http://edexcellence.net/publications/career-and-technical-education-in-high-school-does-it-improve-student-outcomes

The report connected secondary, postsecondary, and workforce data from Arkansas that clearly demonstrates positive outcomes for students enrolled in a sequence of three or more CTE courses during high school.

Among the key findings cited are:

  • “Students with greater exposure to CTE are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in a two-year college, be employed, and earn higher wages.
  • CTE is not a path away from college: Students taking more CTE classes are just as likely to pursue a four-year degree as their peers.
  • Students who focus their CTE coursework are more likely to graduate high school by twenty-one percentage points compared to otherwise similar students (and they see a positive impact on other outcomes as well).
  • CTE provides the greatest boost to the kids who need it most—boys and students from low-income families.”

When well crafted and delivered, CTE is a very effective educational strategy, and it forms the basis of a robust College Career Pathways System that NC3T promotes (http://nc3t.com/pathways-system-design/). Take a look at the Fordham Foundation report and make sure to cite it as evidence that there are multiple pathways to personal success in today’s economy.